In this technology age, what with its constant notifications from text messaging, email and social media, it can be really refreshing to get out of town and head for the woods where cell service is a bit weaker and you can turn off your phone for a bit. So all of the smartphone apps specifically designed to make your camping experience smoother may seem a touch counterproductive—but truth be told: these apps are helpful.
Whether you need to figure out the closest campground nearby, help with some difficult knots or a good campsite recipe, there’s an app for your smartphone device that can help. Here are 5 of the most helpful:
Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder
iOS and Android; Free
Want to go bird watching? Boating? Hiking? Climbing? Or, you know, camping? Well with the Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder app, it’s pretty easy to find a nearby park for that. Just enter your location, select from a list of things you want to do and this app’ll tell you exactly where to go. The database has both State and National, as well as local, parks, and the interface is extremely easy-to-use, making this a must-have outdoor recreation app.
What Knot to Do
This app from Columbia Sportswear is simply amazing. It has an easy to use interface, teaches you how to tie 70 different knots with step-by-step directions and has a lot of great information in its glossary. Each knot is referenced to the bible of knotting—that is, the Ashley Book of Knots. Of all of the free knot apps you can choose from on iOS, this one definitely has the most features and will provide you with the best knotting tools for any outdoor need.
SAS Survival Guide—Lite
iOS and Android; Free
Based on the best-selling book, this bare bones free version of the SAS Survival Guide app breaks down the information you really need to know without overloading you with information. Like most survival guides, this is something you want to read through before you need to use the information inside. With this app, you’ll learn to build fires, navigate by the stars, find water, knife skills and more. It also features a 100+ question survival quiz, a sun compass and a survivalchecklist, so you can be sure you’re ready for the wilderness.
Classic Camping Cookbook and Meal Planner
Unfortunately, there aren’t any fantastic smartphone apps for camping recipes but this is probably the best of what’s out there. That said, it’s not super camping-friendly. It seems the Coleman people that decided which recipes to add to this app maybe haven’t actually been camping, since the majority of these recipes aren’t outdoor friendly—but, on the flip side, you’ll learn there are a lot more things you can make on a Coleman stove than previously thought.
This app, open sourced and donated by Google, is perfect for the great outdoors, where there’s little light pollution and you can actually get a good look at the stars. Just download the app and you’ll have a complete map of the stars with informative details about constellations, planets, galaxies and more at your fingertips. You can also jump through time to virtually view the sky at any time in the past or future.